March 04, 2014

Fact Sheet 14-4: School Transportation Professionals

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

Introduction

School buses are the safest form of mass transit in America. Drivers expertly navigate city congestion as well as isolated country roads and in all kinds of weather. School bus drivers are the first people to greet children on their way to school and the last to bid them goodbye as they return home. Bus drivers, monitors and aides are often the first to recognize when a child is troubled or ill. In addition to driving, often in bad weather or heavy traffic, they are responsible for first aid and emergency evacuation procedures, student conduct and discipline, and the safe transport of students with special needs. All employees in a district’s transportation department keep up with new safety requirements, regulations and policies. As school budgets tighten, they face the threat of privatization, overcrowded buses and sometimes angry parents. Most of NYSUT’s 4,800 school bus drivers, bus aides and monitors will tell you that they find their jobs rewarding and enjoy the time they spend with our youth. They appreciate the personal fulfillment they get from their work.

Download the full Fact Sheet (pdf)

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Privatization
  • Professional Development
  • Health and Safety Concerns
  • Student Behavior

Privatization

Privatization, contracting out, and outsourcing – these words all mean the same thing; transferring the work of public school employees to the private sector. This is a direct threat to public education for several reasons:

  • Privatizing hands over control of operations and employees to a private company. The district no longer has control of costs or the delivery and quality of the work being done, but they maintain responsibility.
  • Our members have a vested interest in the students and community as, more often than not, the school bus drivers, monitors, bus aides and bus mechanics live in the districts where they work. They care about their passengers’ safety, well-being and confidentiality of student information.
  • Once outsourced, transportation professionals typically lose benefits, salary, and hours. They also lose the benefit of union representation including health and safety protection and grievance procedures.

What do you do?

At the first sign that your district is thinking about privatizing their transportation services, speak to your local union leadership who will in turn speak to your NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist (LRS) to begin the process of fighting back this threat. A campaign to fight outsourcing must be well planned out and organized and will require mobilizing your membership as well as your community. NYSUT, NEA and AFT all have excellent resources and staff to help with this effort.

Where to go:

  • First, your local union leadership who will speak to the LRS.
  • For an excellent source of information, In the Public Interest, a Washington, DC-based company, has produced a booklet called “Making the Grade? Questions to Ask About School Services Privatization.” It can be found at: www.InThePublicInterest.org.
  • www.nea.org – Put privatization in the search box to bring up information.
  • www.aft.org – Put privatization in the search box to bring up information.

Download the full Fact Sheet (pdf)